Sunday, February 27, 2011

day in the life of "the stinkers"

Today, we took the dogs for a walk. They (the dogs) were generally well behaved. The boys were too, for that matter! We did a quarter loop in the cemetary before the Meatball had to pee, so it was back home quickly. During the walk, Meatball was making "tummy prints" in the snow on a raised flower bed. Right after this picture was taken, Peanut made a "face print" in the snow. So funny. I wasn't fast enough to get a good picture of it!

After naps, we rode the sled down the hill in the back yard. Then, after an hour-long struggle to get them to eat something, we ended with some teeth brushing and some play time on the video game bike.

Winter Walk

The boys and I went for a beautiful walk up Settlement. It was probably two miles total which I think is pretty good for little kids. We watched a spider cross the road and the snow. We saw two deer at the top of a hill. We found sticks and drew pictures in the snow. We threw snowballs at each other. We said hi to all of the cute girls that speed-walked past us. (One of them was about four years old, and the boys really thought that she was a looker!) We ate cookies. We ran, jumped, kicked, and laughed. It was a really fun time for me.

dog bath

This is what happens when the dog is in the bathroom during bath time. There was one point where she had bubbles on her nose, her head, her back, and her tail. And, although I know that it looks like Meatball is about to stand up and pee on her, I promise you that he did not. The floor was soaked, and the house smelled like wet dog for the rest of the night.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stylish Blogger? (This is the ONLY time I'll be called stylish)

The sweet Yankee over at MidWestern Exposure recently tagged me for the Stylish Blogger Award. Honestly, I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now, and I’ve jealously coveted all of these shnazzy little blogging recognition moments, and I got all teary eyed when I found out that I had actually been chosen! Someone reads my blog(s) enough to spread the joy? (Is that what I’m spreading? Hmmm…. Smells of …..)
Appreciation is best shared; it’s what makes the blogging community a community, after all. To this end, the Stylish Blogger is modeled on a chain-letter, with the following (optional) obligations:
1. Thank the person who recognized you. (I’ve done this on her blog, but I will do again here: THANKS! You really made my day.)
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Recognize 15 other bloggers (or however many you like, if you don’t read that many blogs) whom you admire by passing the award along to them.
Seven Things About Me
• Unless I’m running in a crowd of thousands, I will go out of my way to avoid stepping on street or sidewalk hole covers. They creep me out. If I’m in a huge crowd (Race for the Cure, Honolulu marathon, etc.) I cringe and my stomach is in momentary knots when I realize that I can’t avoid stepping on one.
• I became a mom for the first and second times at the age of 37 when many of my counterparts were becoming grandparents. No, I’m not kidding. We get started early in these parts.
• I spent my entire youth astride a horse. I miss it SO much.
• When I actually have time to read for pleasure, I try to alternate a fiction with a non-fiction. I think that I prefer fiction, but I’m always worried that I’m not well-rounded enough.
• I have Meniere’s Disease which is not really a disease, but rather a dis-ease or a syndrome or “episodes.” When I use the term “episode,” I feel like I’m 80 years old.
• I’m going to be really pissed off if I don’t actually live to be 80+. Now that I’m of “ma’am” age (40), I’ve decided that eighty is the new 60.
• I will try ANYTHING twice. I don’t think that once is enough because the first time (good or bad) may have been a fluke. This applies to experiences (running a marathon, bungee jumping, etc.) as well as food (although I’m still trying to muster up the desire to stomach oysters on the half-shell again – I will do it, I’m just not sure when).

Bloggers I Admire
I admire just about anyone who is willing to publicly put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking) and open themselves up to critique. It’s a pretty vulnerable place to be in if you’re doing it right. Well, it is for me. Maybe that’s a personal problem. Maybe I’m not doing it right? 1-800-THERAPY, anyone? Wait! Maybe YOU’RE not doing it right? Ha!
Regardless, I love reading these particular blogs (and not necessarily in this order) because they provide me with a laugh, a cry, a sigh of relief, an update on local politics that COMPLETELY impact my life, and a belief that good things can happen to good people.

1. Nicole at Arctic Garden Studio. I love how bright and cheery and beautiful her blog photos are. I’m impressed that she manages to find and/or create sunshine in one of the coldest parts of the country.
2. I recently discovered Briggsy over at Oh, Briggsy, and I must say that she cracks me up. She is so much more clever than I am, and if she were typing this, she would probably write something that Phil from Modern Family might say like “She’s the shizz that busts my chops, yo!” (See? Even then I can’t make it work) and then make some obscure by hilarious reference to DJ Jazzy Jeff or Air Supply.
3. Dooce’s Heather absolutely makes my day. Wait. Daily Chuck makes my day. No. It’s the way that she describes her husband’s responses to anything that she says. Ehhh – it’s Coco. Heather, you had me at “my dog eats her own poop.”
4. Baba makes Lesbian Dad a true joy to read, and her kids are ADORABLE. She is very active in her community, and is creating the type of family that has been around for years but only recently respectfully recognized – and even then, not everywhere (read: right where I’m standing).
5. Indispensible to gay Utahns, Eric has the cajones to take on the locally wicked Sutherland Institute and, frankly, the whole of “the church” as it’s known in these parts. Pride in Utah is one of the fastest links to local politics that we have. Eric, you’re a pig, and we’re lucky to have you amongst us!
6. Hysterical in a PPMD way is Role Playing with Kids’ K. She says things that the rest of us think, and you gotta’ respect people who have multiple multiples, especially this close together. And, by the way, these kids are so stinking cute. Really – check out their smiles! Mine are a smidge cuter, but not by much!
7. In addition to the usual blogger fodder, Kyla has the ability to write very profound posts when the topic is just right. Besides, the regular “fodder” in her life is pretty dang interesting which makes Turtlefly Adventures something that I look forward to checking on a regular basis. It’s rumored that she’s a blast to hang out with, and I find it shameful that we haven’t yet. I smell a BBQ in the making.
8. It was a happy day that I stumbled across The Pioneer Woman, and now I not-so-secretly wish to live her life (minus the goateed hubby, although I must admit that he is very attractive) because I believe I was meant to be a farmer with a basset hound.
9. After experiencing the first of eight horribly wrong recent court decisions, Keri has managed to keep her dignity intact. She’s become an activist, and her new (almost 2!) baby is completely precious, but she will never give up her hope that she will be reunited with her first child. Pieces of Gray is the place to read this story of hope and persistence.
10. With a name like Whiskey in my Sippy Cup, this blogger can’t help but be awesome. Mr. Lady is honest and actually made me cry once.
11. Second only to Dooce, RBR’s protagonist makes me choke on my morning beverage with almost every post. Love it! Love her!
12. My coworker, and fellow reasonable human being, Nate mixes triathlon training, techie crap, a dad’s perspective on multiples, and hockey into an enjoyable little read. His techie updates are waaaaay over my head, but his race reports are awesome – like the time he likened his swim to a zebra being taken down by an alligator. Only at The Bloody Toe.
13. Tigress’ 2010 Can Jam jolted me out of the sweet spread doldrums that I was unwittingly languishing in. The challenge, documented on Tigress In a Jam, inspired me to make things like Key Lime Pie Martini jelly and Onion Rosemary confiturra and O3 jam. Oh, and she’s a clever writer, to boot!
14. The people who were brave enough to employ me from ages 18-20 can be found here. Ah, I miss those days of sunshine, sea air, and the nights of partying like only under-aged kids can. And, the pizza. THE PIZZA!!!
15. Besides the fact that she seems to be able to grow anything, Gayla at You Grow Girl has the most fantastic photos. She could find a flower growing in a gravel pit and make it look beautiful.

Could I say "no"?

A long time ago when I was a young 'un, my dad was a raging drunk and was frequently abusive to my mom. There was even a secret "code" involving porch lights so that our neighbors understood when to call the cops. This probably explains why my previous relationship wasn't very stable, affirming, or at times even safe. It's OK now. I've finally forgiven her, and we're actually friends now. I love her wife and son. I enjoy hanging out with her - probably because I know that I'm not in danger any more.

But, there are times when something will happen that reminds me how difficult it was. There was the cheating, but I actually expected that for some reason. (A therapist would have a field day with that statement, right?) Except for the devastating blow to one's self esteem that comes from being betrayed, there was no mental abuse. It was the physical stuff that was hard to comprehend and tolerate, but I followed the cycle of abuse to the letter.

Example: One night, something happened (no clue what) that triggered her anger (which wasn't hard to do), and I ended up with a fat lip and bloody nose. But, I was done, fed up, ready to do something. I just didn't know what that was. I did know that I needed to get out of the toilet that we rented, so I grabbed my keys and ran out the door. Great. So, you've started the truck and pulled out of the driveway, but now what?

I knew that I needed to go somewhere, but I didn't want her to be embarrassed by her actions (what?!?!) and I didn't want our friends to know just how stupid I was (what?!?!), so going to one of their houses was out of the question. If I was going to escape, I had to do it right. The thought of going to the shelter for domestic violence victims was out of the question. (Why????) But, as I drove, it occurred to me: a friend that my partner didn't know that just wouldn't let me down. I knew just the person!

I was working some nights and all weekends at a local bar as a DJ. (I actually wasn't half bad, either!) One of the bartenders there was/is an awesome person, and I love her to pieces. We had a great friendship over a shared love of Lenny Kravitz and roots in Sanpete county. I just knew that I could count on her. So, I drove to the bar where everyone was cleaning up for the night. She wasn't working that night either. I coudn't possibly be seen in there in the condition that I was in, so I convinced the owner to come outside where I begged for my friend's phone number. The owner wouldn't give it to me, but agreed to dial it and then let me talk. OK, that works.

It was the middle of the night (after 1am). I knew even then that if someone calls that late, it's considered an emergency. I felt badly for waking someone/anyone, but I needed someplace to go. So, sobbing into the phone, I asked for a place to stay for the night - just one night so that I could go back and get my belongings the next day - just one night to collect my thoughts and make a real, actionable plan - just one night to sleep without fear. I asked, and she said no. The reason? She had company. She. Had. Company.

I will never forget that. I still love her, and I think that she's a great person, and she probably doesn't even remember this incident. I, however, will never, ever forget it. I ended up driving back home to the fake tears and the empty apologies and the cycle that continued for two more years.

So, flash forward to three weeks ago when a friend of ours called us and wanted to talk. Even though we hadn't spoken for more than two years, I invited her over because I knew exactly what it was about. I've known for what seems like forever. When she described the mental and physical abuse that she had been enduring, I understood her. When she asked if she could stay in our basement as she filed for divorce and found a place of her own, I said yes.

Could I even consider saying no?

So, we moved all of her belongings into our garage and basement yesterday. It went smoothly. We packed up her stuff, her son's stuff, and left the husband's stuff alone. She left him with more than half believing that everything will be worked out in the divorce. For the first time in her life, she is "living like a gypsy," and she is ashamed and embarrassed. I know what she is feeling right now.

I thought that it would take a while before her husband figured out where she was especially since she hadn't spoken to us for so long, but there he was, sitting outside our house (smartly, on the street, not the driveway - we couldn't do a thing) about 15 minutes after he read her good bye note.

We were just nervous enough that I wouldn't let the boys eat supper* at the dining room table. We ate in the kitchen, away from all windows, instead. It was at this moment - watching my two little stinkers eat pancakes for their dinner - that I realized I could have said no to our friend.

I don't actually think that the husband will do anything. As he was calmly talking to Bub last night (he in his truck, she in the doorway), he indicated that there are two sides to every story. She, in turn, let him know that if he steps foot in our driveway, we will call the cops.

I still think that we did the right thing.

(*this word used in latent defiance - only one other person might ever know how stupidly happy using this word makes me feel)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's cookies - 2011

We were busy on Sunday making what seemed like 9000 cookies for Valentine's Day. I seriously need to remember to halve this recipe or something.

I always let the boys do whatever they want - crack eggs (then I fish out the shells), sift flour (then I sweep), sprinkle the little doo-dads (then I sweep again), roll the dough (they each have their own rolling pins), and cut the shapes (with complete disregard for efficient use of space which drives me crazy). But, it's always fun. Always!

At one point on Sunday, Peanut rolled out his own dough to about 1/2" thick. Then, instead of using a cookie cutter, he just imprinted his entire face on the dough. We chucked that piece of dough in the garbage since he's been sick for over a week. (That's why we ONLY had 9000 cookies.)

Then, Meatball was sifting flour. It should be noted here that he doesn't pay attention to anything. He's oblivious to impending physical dangers which is why he is constantly walking into doorknobs, pinching his fingers, and falling off of his cooking stool - which he did WHILE sifting! Here's the result:

I like to think that I learn (slowly, but surely), so we did sprinkles over the sink this time. Smart move on my part because we dropped the sprinkle bottles a few times - they went right into the sink! Here's the Peanut:

and the Meatball (yes - he still has flour on his shirt):

And, where is that pesky camera when you need it? Yes - we've lost another one. Thank goodness for my phone camera, even if the quality is sketchy.

More skating pictures

As mentioned before, we went skating at the end of January. The company photographer was there, and I can now share some of the pictures that she took of our brief experience:

I was laughing the entire time.

I think that I had just hoisted him up - again.

This is about as far as I got away from the rail the entire time.

Notice the white knuckle grip?

No - she's not mad. This is Bub's "I'm-going-to-fall-and-break-something" look.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I can't believe i just served that...

For dinner tonight we had the following:
Mommy - chicken fajitas
Peanut - pizza, peas, scrambled eggs
Meatball - crepe, scrambled eggs, peas
Mama (who is sick) - fruit smoothie
Wow - that was a lot of leftovers!

Friday, February 11, 2011

What can I take from this woman?

Last week I attended a funeral for a woman I had never met. I went because I know and work with two of her daughters. I've known them for years, and I worked closely with one of them - day in and day out on the same project - for months and months and months.

The service was beautiful and filled with many Catholic traditions, pageantry, and nuances that, not being of that or any faith, I didn't fully understand. I can appreciate them, though, because I knew that they were of comfort to this woman during her life and they seemed to comfort her family, my friends, as well.

Since I'm actually a pretty busy person, my down time is usually pretty short and often involves me completely zoned out. This service actually gave me a chance to take some time to really reflect on my life as I listened to the words of the priest.

"What am I going to take from this experience? How can I see the light? What did this person have that I can keep partly for myself and partly share with love?"

Mrs. Jimenez: Although I didn't know you, I know that you raised beautiful daughters. They are both giving, willing, and honest people. I have learned how to speak with a soft voice when necessary and when to kick it up a notch to really have some fun. I have learned potty training tricks. I have learned generosity in the form of a package (or three) of pull-ups, a surprise smoothie, a kind word, and an offer to help. I have learned that everybody can - and should - be listened to. I have learned that women are always prettier when they are walking out of a restroom than when they walked in, but the secret lies not in lotions or make-up but the verbal and emotional exchange that happens with other women while in front of the mirror. I have learned that parents DO survive twin toddlers. I have learned that family bonds can weather almost any storm. Mrs. Jimenez, I have learned that you knew what you were doing when you raised those girls! Thank you for sharing them with me.

The other part of the service that really struck me was the Lord's Prayer. I've heard it hundreds of times, but on this day, one part really hit me in the gut, and I must admit, it hurt a little... I'm paraphrasing here, but "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others" or whatever it is.

Basically, I suck at forgiveness. I don't know why, and I don't know why it's harder for me to forgive some people than others. It's stupid, too, because I know that by not forgiving I am simply perpetuating a feeling or emotion that will bother and hurt me as it eats away at my heart.

This one is a biggie...

Did I mention that HCF needs your help?

Yup - I'm running another marathon while raising money for Huntsman Cancer Foundation. So, FAMILY MEMBERS (and friends, of course), you can donate here to honor the memory of my mom who - let's admit it - was friggin' awesome. I've never met anyone since her who gave so freely of her time by volunteering for everything (scouts, 4-H, PTA, more 4-H, church, EMT, even more 4-H, secret Santa, and just an ear to listen when someone needed it). She was truly the best!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Swimming lessons

Look at these cute pictures I found from last summer. I'm excited to get them into swimming again this year. Westminster has a program that is 1x/week for 6 weeks v. the 9 daily lessons provided in Tooele. We might try that this spring.
Camera phone quality, but cute anyway. The little girl between them was Saylor. She was funny. She always had to potty just when it was time to practice jumping in skills.

Monday, February 7, 2011

SB62 - tabled

Yet again, a bill that would have given Bub the ability to adopt her own kids has failed in committee in the Utah Senate. Oh my HELL, this state makes me so mad!

However, if I try to look on the bright side, I think that we made some new friends: Liam and his mommies. Here are the boys playing with Liam outside of the senate hearing room:

The boys also really liked the capitol building. It really is beautiful. They kept calling the rotunda an "art museum." Here they are with their non-LEGAL-but-everything-else mom by a statue of a lion (lion statues are really cool when you're three years old):

Yes - I have cried already today, and I've also checked out the company job board for positions in states where Bub could adopt. There is one in Cali...... All hope is not lost. There is still the possibility that HB108 will make it out of committee and to the entire floor to be heard. Wouldn't that be nice?

Good Morning!

This is what every single morning looks like in our house:
I can't remember a day when at least one little person hasn't ended up in the mommy bed. Peanut is laying with his head on Mom's tummy; Meatball is snuggled up next to her on the other side. And because she didn't want to wake them, she didn't move around much which means that now her back hurts and she's hobbling around today like an old lady. (Happens to me all of the time - probably because we are getting old!)
Spoiled little stinkers! Can't help but love 'em!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Funny little movie

What if filmmakers directed the superbowl?
see this to find out.

Huge favor, complete stranger, pay it forward

The other night, we were running late, had to stop at the store to pick up dad's birthday present, went to his house to sing happy birthday and run around like crazy people, pick up the truck and get home to let the dogs in because it was in the low teens. Needless to say, we weren't going to have a bunch of time to make anything for dinner. To compound problems, we forgot to take something out of the freezer. So, we called an order in to the local mom & pop joint that we eat at every other month-ish.

When I got there, I started writing a check because I had left my debit card in a different pair of pants.
Cashier: We don't take checks.
Me: Since when? I just wrote a check here a month or so ago!
Cashier: I don't know. I've only worked here a month.
Me: (Standing. Looking at cashier. Looking at bag of pre-made food. Looking at cashier.) Well, ok then. Good bye. (Walking away confused and wondering which cereal we will feed the boys....)

I was almost at the door when I hear:
Stranger: Ma'am?
Me: (cringing at my age, turning around to see a 22-ish year old sticking her head out the door) Yes?
Stranger: I'll pay for your food, and you can just write me the check.
Me: (thinking - possibly saying out loud - HUH?!?!) Excuse me?
Stranger: I'll pay for it, and you can pay me if that's OK.
Me: That's great.

By the time I got back in to the counter, she had paid for my food.
Stranger: It was already made, and you were obviously counting on it.
Me: You have no idea what hassle you just saved me from. Thank you SO much. Thank you. Thank you! (I may have said it once or twice or 17 more times.)

Her name was Autumn. I found her on Facebook later and sent her another thank you. It was the nicest thing a stranger has done for me in a long time.